November 4th Retreat Gathering Day

Mary and Carmelite Saints

November is our time for Fr. Matt.  He and Gillian helped us explore what is Carmelite spirituality.  At Mass we gathered in depth and heard Matt talk about how the original Carmelites looked to Elijah to firm up their credentials and so as not to be alone. And he reminded us that as Carmelites we are called to live in the truth, to meet God and our selves in truth. This talk has been titled ‘Elijah, Humility and Truth‘.

Later he spoke more specifically about how spirituality is the place where the Spirit of the Lord lives in us. Living spiritually is living the most authentic way of being human.  Else it’s all pretence and superficial half-living.  Our spirituality brings out the greatness of our humanity by constantly encouraging our growth.  Carmelite spirituality speaks to the soul’s deepest centre, its identity; it’s a coming home to the centre of our humility.

I encourage everyone to take time to listen and relisten to this talk since it is pivotal to all that we do and are.  As I listen to his talks I am brought back into the same space and depth and mystery where we were together and I feel motivated to press on with my daily growth, my ongoing wrestling, arrival at a viewing place, taking a long drink, and then continuing to press on.

For the Rule Probe we focused on Recollection as a mindset.  Mary suggested her practice of saying the Jesus prayer in between times to recall where she wants to be.

Gillian picked up on Matt’s theme of the beauty of Carmel.  She spoke of Carmelite spirituality in terms of beauty, of dealing with the incomprehensible, of its allure, its being able to name the cry of the human heart.  Someone sees and knows us.  Who we are is exposed, is revealed.  We are always left wanting more. Gillian’s warmth and enthusiasm is contagious.  We are so fortunate to have the talks available since they draw us into an experience.

All present missed those of you who could not be present and stood in for you.

Of course all this is to ask whether you personally feel called to Carmelite spirituality.  My own opinion is that all spiritualities can be fed by Carmel.  Maybe it’s because Elijah looms large both before and after Christ.  As a Dominican my novice mistress quotes John and Teresa above all others.  Its not an exclusive family.

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